Bringing sexy back: Eugenio Derbez stars in ‘HOW TO BE A LATIN LOVER’


Preston Barta // Editor

Rated PG-13, 115 minutes.
Director: Ken Marino
Cast: Eugenio Derbez, Salma Hayek, Rob LoweKristen BellRaphael AlejandroMichael CeraRob CorddryRob HuebelRob Riggle and Raquel Welch

HOW TO BE A LATIN LOVER is about as harmless as movies come. While it’s rated PG-13 and includes material that may require covering the ears of a child, it’s an accessible crowd pleaser.

The family-comedy stars Eugenio Derbez as a man who avoids life’s hardships by sleeping his way to riches. I mean, everyone has money problems, right? Try having piles of cash and a mansion bigger than Bruce Wayne’s, only to have it disappear at the snap of a finger, because the old lady you’ve been getting cozy with has moved on to someone younger (Michael Cera). So the once sexy Maximo (Derbez) must find another sugar momma or he’s a man with no country.

Fresh Fiction had the opportunity to speak with Derbez during a quick pitstop in Dallas during a promotional tour. We discussed letting go of creative control, gaining weight and wearing a speedo in front of your celebrity crush.

Derbez is known for his directing works, such as 2013’s INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED. Having directed so many projects, one wonders if your instincts as a director ever intrude on projects when you’re working strictly as an actor:

“Yes, it’s very hard. This time I decided not to direct because it’s my first project in English and it’s a comedy. I’m not that familiar with humor in the U.S. It’s different. You need to be born here to know what the general market laughs at, so I didn’t want to make any mistakes. I ultimately decided to hire Ken Marino to direct this.

I have to get the director out of me, because I was constantly questioning why the camera was here or there. I had to switch it all off and leave it to the director, otherwise it would have been very uncomfortable throughout the entire process.

I originally wanted to do a very emotional ending, similar to INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED. I had an alternate ending one month before we began production. I told the director I had this idea but he saw it as too risky. As a director, I’m trying to always bring new ideas to the table. But in acting projects, I really have to not be intrusive and let go of my ego.”

Eugenio Derbez sports a yellow speedo in ‘HOW TO BE A LATIN LOVER.’ Courtesy of Pantelion Films.

How much weight he gained for the part as the aged lover boy:

“Probably 22 pounds or so to get the belly, but by the end of the movie I was really heavy. I felt like I doubled in size. My son [Vadhir Derbez], however, who plays me when my character he’s in his twenties, he was on a very strict diet for three or four months. He was eating practically nothing and I was eating e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. I did rub it in once, though.”

How the film’s arguably best sequence (his character wearing a speedo to lure in older women) backfires:

“When I watch the film with an audience the pool sequence (which can be seen below in the trailer) is my favorite to watch. However, shooting that sequence was humiliating. You cannot imagine how embarrassed I felt, especially because legend Raquel Welch was in the scene. I’ve had a crush on her since I was a kid; I was in love with her. So when I heard that we were going to have Raquel in the movie I was so excited to meet her. And then, all of a sudden, I was distracted shooting everything and I finally put on my yellow speedo and they tell me Raquel is shooting today. I freaked out! I thought, ‘I’m not going to meet Raquel in a yellow speedo! Please, don’t do this to me.’ They were running late and I had to go to the set. So the moment when I take my robe off, it was probably the most embarrassing moment of my career. It was fun, though. I think we got the reaction we needed to make it good.”

HOW TO BE A LATIN LOVER opens today.

About author

Preston Barta

Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.